What Life Was Like In The Roaring Twenties | Lifestyles

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The 1920s in America really roared. People cranked up their cars, took off on planes, and like never before, made their voices heard literally and figuratively.

A decade earlier, war engulfed the world and its modernized weapons unleashed unprecedented destruction, bloodshed and misery. Civilians have died of starvation and disease. The soldiers who returned home were scarred by trench warfare, injured by chemical weapons like mustard gas, and shocked by what we today call post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 1920s saw America liberated from war, celebrating but still haunted by its weight. Prosperity in peacetime has raised the standard of living of millions of people. People took to the dance floor, got rid of their worries by doing the Charleston, listening to the latest music on the radio, and listening to the first live sports broadcasts from across the country. Assembly lines and mass production were technological advancements that lowered the prices of consumer goods. The diffusion of electric power has created a demand for devices. And the new installment plans have allowed people to buy goods on credit.

Millions of women were able to vote for the first time. Taking advantage of independence, they cut their hair, shorten their skirts and let their new appliances share the household chores. The cost of owning a car became affordable for many households, and America’s love affair with the automobile began. Roads were paved and shops were built to accommodate the new passion for driving. In the air, passenger planes flew and stunt pilots were entertained.

Behind the carefree images, dark forces were at work. Conservative morals fought modern science, while white supremacy exploited Americans’ fear of foreign communism. Organized labor lost the gains it had made during the war effort. The temperance ambitions behind Prohibition resulted in lawlessness and organized crime. Racial tensions were covering. The energy and exuberance of the decade came to a stunning end when the stock market crashed in 1929. The grim and depressing Great Depression silenced the roar.

To watch America during the Roaring Twenties, Stacker compiled a list of discoveries, trends and changes that shaped life in the 1920s, from news sites, historical research, scientific studies and government reports.

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